Built along the cliffs of the Yarnova River, Veliko Tarnovo has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age. Thracians and Romans settled here before the 2nd century AD, and the city became the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire just after its founding in 1186. The remains of the Royal Fortress still stand at the top of Tsarevets Hill. The town was conquered and razed by the Turks in 1393, but remained a center of Bulgarian national struggle. The houses of Veliko Tarnovo seem to grow out of each other’s roofs. The Ivanovo Cave Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located just north on the border with Romania.
PUBLISHED: July 24, 2013